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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 15th August 2009
Sustainability Centre - Old Winchester Hill - East Meon -  Butser Hill - Sustainability Centre
15 miles

It had been four months since we last visited Gill's mum's grave at the natural burial site just across the county border in Hampshire, so it was high time for another trip. The site has really started to revert back to woodland and is unrecognisable from what it was when we first saw it five years ago. The small trees planted on every grave are starting to gain height now and the ground is covered in a carpet of indigenous woodland plants.
The woodland is also used by the Sustainability Centre, which, as well as teaching about permaculture and sustainability, also has a campsite complete with yurts and tipi's.
It soon became apparent that today's theme was going to be harvesting, as combine harvesters were working full-out to get all the wheat in, plus the hedgerows were chock-full of blackberries which we were harvesting as we went along.
We came across a large flock of Swallows at one of the farms, perhaps a couple of hundred of them. They're starting to congregate now prior to setting off on their migration to Africa. Buzzards were in the sky all day, hovering in the strong breeze and giving their high-pitched calls, we even saw one passing food to another by swooping upside down so that they were talon to talon. Gill's highlight of the day was watching a Brown Hare twitching his whiskers in the sunshine, before he ran off and leapt through a bank of wild flowers. Her last sight of him was the soles of his big feet parting the Harebells.


This yurt sleeps six comfortably and costs 50 a night to rent.


The woodworking area at the Sustainability Centre uses human-powered tools only.


The path leading to the burial site has changed beyond all recognition.


The burial site - you wouldn't know it was there now!


Onion seedhead bursting with what looks like... baby onions!


Elderberries where we joined the Monarch's Way


mmmmm!


Sloes, the fruit of the Blackthorn. Not edible yet, as one bite is like sucking a lemon x 10.


Old Winchester Hill Fort. First occupied 3,800 years ago in the Bronze Age. The defensive ditch was added about 2,500 years ago in the Iron Age.


Now it is an SSSI and covered in wild flowers and butterflies. The views across Hampshire and the Meon Valley are stunning.  


Gill on the circular walk around Old Winchester Hill


More yurts beside one of the many wheat fields in the area, which are all being harvested right now.


Lords and Ladies


Hawthorn berries


Spindle Tree


A view from Butser Hill.


Harebells on Butser Hill


The tiny flowers of Eyebright seemed to cover the whole of the turf